Itâ€™s not unusual for mayoral cycling fanatic Celia Wade-Brown to advocate for cycle lanes. While her recent support for road building has caused some among us to query her how green her credentials are – one thing for certain is that if thereâ€™s a road to be built thereâ€™ll be cycle lanes attached to it.
Itâ€™s this dogged attachment to said cycle lanes that the Fish understands is the only reason the public is yet to hear about the confirmation to build the CBD to Eastbourne tunnel. Yep our council insiders report it has the go ahead – well almost – the Mayoral cycle lanes (which are a wee bit more expensive when theyâ€™re added underground and underwater) have pushed the budget over the tolerated envelope of expenditure. All the costings (the ones that have council approval) were sans bicycles, and now the mayor is supportive of Eastbourne seceding from Lower Hutt, the potential of the tunnel to turn Eastbourne into both part of Wellington City and a cyclistsâ€™ paradise (cycling time to the Pencarrow lighthouse will be almost halved via a tunnel) itâ€™s the cycle lanes which have become the sticking point.
Well to be truthful itâ€™s a little more complex than that – itâ€™s the light rail connection she really wants. Those poor guys at the traffic department thought they just had to design a simple two-lane tunnel (of the Mt Vic and Kelburn garden variety – I mean theyâ€™ve already got the plans for those). People who have a cruel streak in them have been suggesting it was recently departed Clay Johnson who put her up to it. It seems itâ€™s a old council parlour game – â€œWho can convince the Mayor to add a cycle lane to this _____â€? So far cycle lanes have mysteriously appeared on farewell cakes, council Christmas cards, policy documents for earthquake strengthening, and the plans for the world premiere of the Hobbit – oops Sir Peter doesnâ€™t know about that yet.
So you can see their dilemma – itâ€™s just not so simple. Once you are committed to a cause itâ€™s just so so hard to let go.
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Actually Maximus I heard that the reason for the delay of a public announcement stems from the Governments desire to include the project in the “Think Big” Roads of National Significance programme.
It would result in the idea being stepped up significantly. Basically the tunnel idea is scrapped in favor of a bridge from Seatoun to south of Camp Bay as an extension to the 4 lane highway from Levin to Wellington Airport. Those with a penchant for tunnels wouldn’t be missing out though – aside from this new connection to Eastbourne the highway would continue on (via said tunnel) to link up with Wainui.
Stage 2 (which was to be much further down the track but may be gathering pace due to recent events in ChCh) is to extend the road further still, by means of either a mountain pass or yet another tunnel, to the Wairarapa. The benefit of which would of course be an added way out for Wellingtonians in the event of natural disasters. I suppose it would also open up possibilities for a second airport with longer runways too.
In other news – Transmission Gully project cancelled…for good.
Good one – you almost had me there. And nice job on the photoshop too, although I seem to remember in the original Botticelli that there was a little more bare flesh involved.